I went to the Renaissance Festival over the weekend. Well, to be fair, it’s more of a festival combining elements of medieval times and the Renaissance, but I digress.
There were a lot of people there.
The lines for food were long, and the queue to get in the gates were even longer. The last time I went, the popularity of the faux-historical event was lost on me, seeing as it was during a freak hailstorm in 2012 and far too cold for most people to be outside.
It’s utterly fascinating to me that so many people go to the Renaissance Festival. When you think about it, it’s rather dorky.
People dress up in medieval costuming, eat fake medieval food with plastic forks and knives and see comedy shows while browse various handcrafted goods. It’s escapism at its finest.
Who says that’s a bad thing, though? Escapism can be perfectly healthy and, dare I say, beneficial.
Everyone needs a break once in a while. I work five to six nights a week, along with full-time school and writing for the State Press. I’m busy.
There are some nights where I just put aside my homework and let myself get absorbed in an episode of “The X-Files” or play a game on my PlayStation.
I’m not addicted to video games or anything, but putting off my stresses is one of the few ways I can deal with them until I’m ready to tackle them head-on.
That isn’t to say that we should all procrastinate no matter what.
Getting work done is cathartic, but even when one’s work is done, getting away from modern life can still be great. Reading a book can let you immerse yourself into a completely different world, as can playing a video game or watching a movie. Fiction is there to comfort us, whether we’re heartbroken, stressed or perfectly content.
Getting too far into it can cause us to lose touch with reality. Keeping a balance is important.
So is enriching our lives with fiction. I’d be a completely different person if I didn’t read so much or watch so much television. I can’t even imagine what my personality would be like without media. Even my trips to Disneyland as a child are embedded deeply within my persona, and I’m sure I can’t be the only one who grew up wanting to be a Power Ranger or get my Hogwarts letter. Escaping into fictional worlds on occasion has helped me retain my sense of wonder at the world.
The Renaissance Festival is hokey. Some of the signs are clearly photoshopped, and there’s no way I’d ever believe they had chicken strips and french fries way back then. I’d even wager if they wanted to be authentic, they’d have to serve my turkey leg with a side of bubonic plague.
But it’s fun. The shows they put on are campy at worst and hilarious at best, and poking around the shops is a ton of fun just to see all the work people put into their crafts, be it pottery or glass-blowing. Maybe someday I’ll dress up and put on a bad English accent and forget I’m Brandon Ortega: student, State Press writer and barista.
The Renaissance Festival was a good way to spend my one day away from working. Heck, this year I even saw a group of “Star Trek” fans dressed up in costume, pretending they were on an away mission for a day.
And I guess that’s what it’s all about, when it comes down to it. Life is stressful.
It’s good to go on the occasional away mission.
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